The moon, seen by the Beresheet lander from about 310 miles above. Photo: SpaceIL and IAI

Israel's uncrewed Beresheet lander is flying ever closer to its moon landing on Thursday.

Why it matters: The landing, if successful, will mark the first time a privately-built spacecraft has touched down on the lunar surface. The moon has historically been the domain of wealthy nations like the U.S., China and Russia, but today's landing could prove that space is open to more people than just a chosen few.

  • Beresheet's mission is centered around inspiring Israeli children with the promise of spaceflight and innovation, according to SpaceIL, the non-profit behind the lander.

Details: SpaceIL originally conceived of the project as part of the Google Lunar X Prize, a contest designed to bolster the space economy with $30 million in prize money. That competition ended without a winner in 2018, but SpaceIL continued its mission, launching Beresheet to the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February.

  • If the landing succeeds, the X Prize Foundation has decided that it will award SpaceIL $1 million, even though the X Prize contest itself is over.

What to watch: Beresheet is expected to touch down on the moon at 3:25 p.m. ET. SpaceIL will broadcast a live feed of the control room during the landing on YouTube starting at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 31,120,980 — Total deaths: 961,656— Total recoveries: 21,287,328Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 6,819,651 — Total deaths: 199,606 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  5. Business: Unemployment concerns are growing.
  6. World: "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.